By John Jameson
Bass Recipes For Today’s Fresh Catch
Knowing how to cook bass is important, especially if you are returning from a recent fishing trip and have freshly caught bass to cook. The three most common and most versatile ways to cook a largemouth or smallmouth bass fish include grilling, poaching and frying in a skillet.
- Grilling: If you decide to grill your fish, it is important to know how to cook bass on the grill, which is very different from grilling a steak, for instance. Before you begin, you should clean your fish and scrape the scales off using a sharp knife, like a Havalon. Marinate your bass overnight using a light olive oil and spice blend. Some of the most popular spices for grilling bass fish include Garam Masala, freshly ground black pepper and All-Spice. Don’t forget to rinse your fish. First, you will need to make sure that the temperature on your grill is set to between 450 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the grill is ready, place your fish directly on the surface or on a wooden grilling plank and cook each side until it begins to flake.
- Skillet-frying: Skillet-frying is one of the easiest ways to cook a bass fish and there are many different ways to utilize this method. The two best methods are:
ο Lemon-fried: After cleaning the bass, place it in a skillet on the stove on high heat and add lemon juice, freshly ground pepper and salt to the fish. For a crackly surface, add additional lemon juice in the skillet. If you are comfortable flipping your fish you can flip after each side browns to make the outer layer extra crispy. If you are not comfortable flipping fish, hold the skillet one inch above the heat and shake it back and forth for one minute per side to achieve the same effect.
ο Frying with olive oil: Olive oil acts as most other oils and will add a crispy outer layer to the fish. Many cooks choose to create a batter from flour and pepper before skillet-frying to give the fish a crispy, healthy breading.
- Poaching: Many new cooks will not understand how to cook bass using this method because the name makes it sound more complicated that it truly is. Poaching, in a sense, means boiling. To poach a bass fish, you must first clean the fish and remove the scales using a sharp knife like a Havalon. To poach the fish, first bring water to a boil in a saucepan large enough for the fish. The amount of water in the saucepan should be enough to completely submerge your bass. After the water has started boiling, add spices of your choice. Popular options include lemon or lime juice and salt, pepper, allspice, oregano, and rosemary. Let the new mixture boil for another two minutes before adding the bass. After adding the fish to the boiling water, the pan should be covered. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the fish until it begins to flake.
The most important things you must remember when you’re learning how to cook bass are: 1) removing the scales and 2) watching for flaking. When your fish is done cooking, it will turn white, flake and then lightly brown when it is finished and ready to eat.
- Another tip on how to cook bass: use a super-sharp knife to gut, debone and fillet the fish so you reduce the amount of fish that ends up in the scrap pile. That’s more for you to eat!
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